The local newspaper just wrote an article about the changes I made to my elementary school's library. This is not the school library you grew up with…
- Brad Flickinger, Bethke Elementary
#edtech #edchat #elearning
Yesterday I spent a few hours reviewing my notes from all of the edtech conferences that I attended this past summer. While going through my notes I kept a list of the ideas that I wanted to try with my students this upcoming 2011-2012 school year. By the time I was done with my review, my list of was over 38 items! How do I incorporate 38 new ideas into my classroom this year?
One of the general problems with today’s society is information overload. But how do we cure it? How do we stay up-to-date with our lessons without feeling like we are just chasing our edtech tails?
The reality is that you cannot do everything — you need to prioritize. So I went back over my edtech idea list and I started to rate each item; one star=cool but I can like without, two stars=I really want to try this, and three stars=I must do this.
After I rated each item, I ended up with only 6 – three star items. My pulse rate started to slow down as I realized that I could deal with 6 new edtech ideas this year.
I then opened up my scope and sequence for all of my classes and started to look for areas where I could incorporate these new ideas. Within just a few minutes I had these items in, and I started to revise my lesson plans.
Now that I was done with the “must haves,” I moved on to the edtech ideas that I really like but were not critical – I had 10 of these on my list. By the time I was done with my lesson planning I had 7 of the 10 ideas included. So from 38 I now have only 13 new ideas, a much more manageable list. But it was still a list of 13 ideas that I needed to figure out before school starts again in 10 days. So the next thing I did was to open my Atomic Learning account and start looking for tutorials on these edtech ideas. I found out that most of my new ideas had tutorials — now I could sleep at night.
Teachers: you can’t do it all — but you can do most of it with a little strategic planning.
- Brad Flickinger, Tech Teacher, Bethke Elementary SchoolRead More
#edtech #edchat #elearning
For years I have been all alone in teaching my elementary students about the world of technology, I’ve made all my own lessons from scratch as I tried my best to give my students the tech skills that they so desperately need in this new world of the 21st Century.
That was all perfect until I came across Learning.com this summer at the ISTE conference in Philadelphia. I just wandered into their booth drawn by the free candies that they prominently displayed at the back of the booth. “Candy,” I thought in my head, saying it like I was Homer Simpson. I was just inches away from my reward when I was approached by a rep from Learning.com who asked me if I would like a demonstration of their products.
I was beat and needed to sit down so I agreed.
The first product they showed me was their web based tech training for elementary students called EasyTech.
“This should be good,” I sarcastically thought to myself believing that I had the best tech lessons on the planet..
I watched as they demonstrated how easy it was for students to log on and then follow along with an animated lesson about certain tech subject.
Learning.com blew me away with EasyTech.
The lesson I watched was done with a cool animated character named Lukas Blackwell, a young rocker who is on a european tour and wants to stay connected to his friends and fans so he starts his own blog. I was pleasantly shocked at how much detail this little lesson covered, they really went into all of the deeper aspects of blogging, not forgetting to cover Internet safety all along the way.
The animation and narration of EasyTech is top notch and it is not just a “sit and watch” lesson, on every other slide the student needs to interact with the lesson to make sure that they are understanding the content that is being presented. Learning.com has got strong academics backing these lessons — something that caught my eye from the first of the demo.
Here is a link to the same lesson on blogging that I saw at their booth in Philadelphia.
Just click on the Curriculum link and then Grades 6-8 Sample.
The other half of the EasyTech program are the lesson plans for teachers to use once the online lesson is over. This is usually a PDF that has it all spelled out for the teacher. Here is a quote from the blogging assignment:
In this activity, students create and respond to blogs as they read and write about literature. To begin, the class is divided into two teams. Each team brainstorms prompts about the current reading and theme for the other team. The teams then break into pairs to respond to the prompts in their blogs. Students post blog entries in first person as one of the main characters, and respond to other students blogs in their own voices. In a culminating project, students watch a modern-day movie version of the literary work and blog a final movie review essay that compares and contrasts the movie to the original work and provides a movie review.
Learning.com’s EasyTech is a fee-based subscription service that is for the K-8 market. They also offer other products like: Aha!Science and Aha!Math, which I will review at a later date.
Here are some photos of my students using Learning.com’s EasyTech on their netbooks:
EasyTech lessons are aligned with the ISTE NETS-S standards (something that I strongly believe in), and that they are available in both Spanish and English.
What really ticks me off about this particular EasyTech lesson on blogging is that I worked for years to develop and refine my own blogging lesson and in the end I didn’t cover half of what was covered by Learning.com And what really hurts is how my kids think that the rocker character “Lukas Blackwell” is so much cooler than me.
I should have never fell for the candy!
- Brad Flickinger, Bethke Elementary SchoolRead More
#edtech #edchat #elearning #elemchat
Like many of you, I spend my summers revamping my lessons so that I am ready for the upcoming school year. This is especially true when it comes to teaching technology — what was fresh and cool one year becomes outdated and un-cool the next. So I woke up this morning wanting to update my Audacity training (Audacity if a voice recording program), but after an hour of racking my brain for ideas on how my make a cool Audacity project it dawned on me to check to see what Atomic Learning (AL) had.
You see, I knew that Atomic Learning would have tutorials on how to use Audacity, but what I really wanted was a project. So I logged into AL and I noticed that one of the search criterias was for “projects,” so I clicked search and sure enough there was a project for Audacity called “What does Sound Look Like.”
I looked it over and it was perfect, just what I was looking for. Here is what the project description says:
We’ll begin by importing audio into Audacity. We’ll explore the audio waveform and identify drum beats and instrument attacks in the amplitude, as well as take a quick look at the relationship between frequency and pitch. Then, we’ll cut silence out of the song, fade it out, and crossfade it with another song. Finally, we’ll find a 4-measure loop, remove it from the song, and save the new song as a WAV file.
So I checked that off my list and moved on to my next summer project — cleaning the garage! I wonder if they have a project for that?
- Brad Flickinger, Bethke Elementary SchoolRead More
#edtech #edchat #elemchat #podstock2011
I just uploaded a new episode of Elementary Tech Teacher’s Journal.
Episode Number 33 (special episode from Podstock 2011)
“Day Two of Podstock 2011″
Here is my summary of Day Two of Podstock 2011 in Wichita, Kansas.
- we did a flashmob and the farmer’s market
- I gave my presentation
- I learned a ton from the other sessions (lots of ideas to take back to my classroom)
- we went to Exploration Place and had a fun time
- we took in the Mosley Street Melodrama
This week’s episode is sponsored by Atomic Learning.Read More